The Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (“TECH”) Project will process high grade nickel-cobalt laterite ore imported from New Caledonia to produce battery chemicals for the emerging electric vehicle sector.
The TECH Project will be located in the Lansdown Industrial Precinct, a newly zoned industrial area just south of Townsville. A block within this area has been conditionally allocated to the TECH Project.
The project location is ideal for the TECH Project and is well supported by existing infrastructure.
The TECH Project will utilise the DNi Process (Direct Nickel Process), which employs a nitric acid leach under atmospheric conditions, to produce intermediate products. These will then be further refined to produce battery chemicals.
The DNi Process has many advantages over traditional HPAL projects including:
- The ability to recover all valuable metals from the ore including nickel, cobalt, aluminium, iron and magnesium
- Shorter time frame and cheaper cost of construction as stainless steel can be used, which is not corroded by nitric acid
- >99% nitric acid recycled
- Lower environmental footprint – the remaining residue is a benign silicate which can be dry stacked, eliminating the need for a tailings dam
In March 2020, a PFS for the TECH project was completed highlighting the strong economic potential of the project. The results are displayed below.